36: The Scrying Game
Unable to meet her eyes, all he could offer was the mutter of a false promise.
Then, with a sharp jolt, Lance clapped his shoulder and shook him out of the dark mists he felt welling up around him. “Don’t you worry, Emz,” he said, puffing out his chest, “we’ll handle shiz out here.”
For the briefest of moments, Emily smiled, a single ray of sunlight in a cloud-laden sky. “Okay,” she said, “but don’t you boys go getting yourself into trouble, you hear?”
“Dude, staying out of trouble is my middle name!” said Lance. “Well, it’s actually Jules, but you didn’t hear that, right?”
“Thank you, Lance.”
From the look on his face, anyone would have thought Emily had pinned the Golden Wings of Seelie to his chest.
Then, with a final wince of apology, she joined Jonas and Chris in the elevator, and Dante, for the second time in his life, watched those pale winter eyes vanish from sight, whisked away by powers he could never hope to compete with.
After all, he was nobody sp—
“C’mon, duder, cheer up!” said Lance. “Or did you forget there was a front door?”
Emily never thought she would be thankful for Chris Shaw’s company, but here she was, her life upside down, falling into the depths beneath paradise ready to step through the gates to the underworld, with no one to rely on but the feather-haired Malkuthian and his magic pen. In his long, neon-trimmed coat, frilled cravat and velvet waistcoat, he could waltz into the Sultan’s domain without raising an eyebrow.
Emily herself, however, looked like a rat in an oversized bed sheet, her fake tan and dyed hair a desperate attempt to win some surface dweller’s attention. As the elevator continued its descent, she pulled her hair from its bunches. Emily’s bunches.
Next to her, Jonas Meeray shifted uncomfortably. Every so often, his eyes would twitch towards Chris with jealousy sharp enough that Emily felt it cut through the aether like a knife. Chris had ruined his plan to separate her from her friends and he knew it would be difficult to get rid of him anytime soon. Whether Chris realised this, or was blissfully ignorant and along for the ride—perhaps, as boys were wont to do, to impress her—she did not know. Chris, like Meeray himself, wasn’t careless enough to leak his thoughts as others might. It would have taken more than a brush of the fingertips and an unspoken promise to learn his secrets. Perhaps a lot more. And, if Prince Freyr had his way…
The elevator doors opened to a station not unlike those Emily had passed through on her way to Bolventor, though somewhat smaller. This time, however, the walls were the dirty colour of earthen transmatter, their lights that same sickly green as the catacombs beneath Torsten.
Thank God we have Lancelot Jules Algar around, ey?